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NOV 2013 NO 20

buy sell trade consign


Contents 7.

PLEASURES A few of STITCH’s favorite (dream) items


LOOKS Our favorite looks fresh off the runway


STREET STYLE Malik Dent, photographed by Sean Su

13 . FEATURE “Appropriate or Appropriation” by Karina Sirota 17. SIDEBAR “Whitewashing Color” by Steffanee Wang 19. FEATURE “Politics of Modesty” by Jessica Arnold


COVER SHOOT “Processed/Unprocessed” by Alaura Hernandez

35. FEATURE “Anatomy of the It Girl” by Lizzey Johnson 40. FEATURE “How to Survive This Holiday Season” by Erica Witte 43. SHOOT “Once and Ever After” by Alaura Hernandez & Nick Arcos 54. 58.

2DO Movie by Abby Reisinger; Artist Review by Karen Valencia LAST WORD “... And Then There’s the Issue of Fashion” by Carrie Shin


It’s really complacency that bothers me: accepting your circumstances for what they are and not attempting to foster change. I’m all for relaxing and having fun, but doing so in an active manner. I call this growing. Not growing up — just expanding as a human being. I am fully aware that this life philosophy probably seems a bit daunting, but that doesn’t deter me from truly believing that each idle moment is an opportunity wasted. An opportunity for what? That part is up to you.


There are limitless issues facing our world today — even in the world of fashion. As students, we are presented with the chance to make a difference, to care. Our generation has the power to watch the world decline, or to build it into a society in which we are proud to live and cultivate. I hope you choose the latter.

+ Blue Gatorade + Country music + The Mindy Project + Vegan leather + Trader Joe’s Ravioli

Fashion is and always should be fun — but that doesn’t mean it can’t be taken seriously. We have designers like Nanette Lepore who has been an avid supporter of the Save the Garment Center, a non-profit organization that aims to save and expand the garment district in NYC, for years. We have Rick Owens using a women’s step team as models in his Spring/Summer 2014 runway show in Paris. Both examples should stand to prove that having an opinion and advocating for change is cool.

On Instagram? I’m obsessed, and so is STITCH! Follow us @stitchfashion for all the behind-the-scenes action, wherewe’re at on campus and for all of our latest obsessions.

That is why this November we are serving you with some major issues. Staff writer Jessica Arnold explores the language surrounding the lack of modesty in the industry and our world (p. 19) while Carrie Shin follows up with her Last Word (p. 58) on just how silly fashion actually is. So go ahead, enjoy our issue on issues, because STITCH is done being complacent. Are you?


STITCH EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Alyssa Clough MANAGING EDITOR Alexandra Adeli CREATIVE DIRECTORS Nick Arcos, Samantha Brody, Carly Shapiro DESIGN EDITOR Rosalind Mowitt DESIGN Amanda Rodriguez, Heiwon Shin, Jenn White, Jennie Moser, Kaylah Sosa PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR Alaura Hernandez CO-DIRECTORS OF PHOTOSHOOTS Samantha Brody & Carly Shapiro STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERS Christine Chang, Jalissa Gomez, Lily Allen, Marina Vernovsky, Alix Kramer, Jacky Yang, Katharine Carrault, Cindy Joo, Ina Yang, Nick Giancola, Victoria Zapater, Saskia Wieskbron STREET TEAM Sean Su STYLING Kate Camarata, Peggy Garard, Annalise Sundberg, Beatrice Hagney, Iman Gultson, Jillian Sellers, Lauren Myers, Sarah Spellings, Alix Kramer, Angelene Sun, Katharine Currault, Katelyn Camarata MULTIMEDIA EDITOR Rachel Jones MULTIMEDIA Angelene Sun, Gemma Folari, Olivia Peace, Sarah Burton ONLINE EDITOR Rachel Nussbaum PRINT EDITOR Cathaleen Qiao Chen STAFF WRITERS Abby Reisinger, Amy Xu, Arabella Watters, Arielle Miller, Carrie Shin, Elizabeth Johnson, Erica Witte, Jacob Roth, Jessica Arnold, Karen Valencia, Karina Sirota, Kelly Gonsalves, Kylie Gilbert, Lakin Dabis, Lily Orlan, Luke Zhang, Mackenzie Broderick, Mackenzie Maxson, Michelle Chang, Steven Bennett, Steffanee Wang TREASURER Sonali Dasgupta DIRECTOR OF FUNDRAISING AND ADVERTISING Sydney Lindsey DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC RELATIONS Diana Armacanqui EXTERNAL RELATIONS Ashley Peterson, Adele Kuforiji, Anna Schapiro, Ava Steir, Blair Darrell, Caroline Levy, Emma Feder, Jenny Reinsdorf, Jenny Sussna, Jessica Weil, Mallory Bell, Maya Voelk, Megan McDowell, Neha Kumar, Nicole Byron, Prarthana Gupta, Stephanie Risler, Tori Latham



Alaura Hernandez photography editor

Alex Adeli managing editor

Cathaleen Chen print editor




+ Sweet potato with almost butter + LUSH products + Rococo-inspired prints + The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews + AdvoCare Spark energy drink mix

+ New Girl + Brie + Chunky scarves + Malbec + Wax jeans

+ Tea lights + Amy Winehouse on vinyl + the backless trend + Yayoi Kusama lime juice in cocktails


Diana Armacanqui PR director

Rachel Nussbaum online editor

Samantha Brody photoshoot director




+ Lewis Watson’s albums The Wild and Another Four Sad Songs + teeki hot pants + Kombucha Guava Goddess + National Geographic Adventure Trips + TED Talks

+ Lipstick Queen lipstick in Wine Sinner + “I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman” by Nora Ephron + Sweet Nothing Necklace by In God We Trust + Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay

+ The Little Mermaid + Brown leather pencil skirts + Urban Decay Lip Color in “Punch Drunk” + Pumpkin chai lattes + “Be kind when you can and forthright when you need to kick ass.”














LOOKS Louis Vuitton’s collection in Paris focused on showgirls. Marc Jacobs eschews the typical black-white dichotomy as a vehicle for a statement of temporality and mortality, creating a flashier, revisionist-history line this season. His designs hearken back to a nostalgic view of the 1980s, complete with overworked hairdos and over-sexualized models. Jacobs definitely elevated the Vuitton name and left a legacy in his last show ever as creative director. Givenchy designer Ricardo Tisci’s juxtaposition of the masculine Gypsy aesthetic with feminine styles — namely dresses, colorful leather and chiffon over prints —creates a powerful, unique line. This year’s collection focuses on flounced skirts, flowing dresses, and pleats in a typical Givenchy tableau of blended male and female images. Brightly bejeweled masks and costume jewelry make several risqué designs — considering the complete lack of a neckline on this already standout vinyl-strip dress.

Vivienne Westwood’s SS 2014 focused on nature’s beauty, showcasing the organic as a wellspring of inspiration for her flowery designs; earthy colors and monochrome flourished this season alongside her perennial platform shoes. Westwood, a champion of climate-change awareness, infused her design mantra with flowing garments meant to effect Indic and Persian undertones, matching her recent interest in the marginalized of those societies. The result was something like an “oriental garden,” one truly worth preserving.


Louis Vuitton


Vivienne Westwood





Photographe d by SEAN S U

Year/major? I am a sophomore on a Pre-Med track studying HDPS with a Global Health minor.

How would you describe your style? I would like to describe my style as being very urban. Partially because half of my wardrobe is from Urban Outfitters, but also because I’m big into street wear. I can always be found wearing some pattern whether it’s camo, cheetah, and/or tribal patterns. I hate looking plain.

Who influences your style? Any icons? Usually I would say Kanye West, because he’s obviously the man on the fashion tip; however, Chance The Rapper and A$AP Rocky are my fashion idols and they tremendously influence my style. They are big on mixing patterns and basically putting some of the most creative patterns together and I admire that.

What are you wearing? My Jordans are from New Villa. My Koto camouflage pants are from Urban and my Jean shirt, that’s also Koto, is from Urban too. My Lakers SnapBack was actually bought at UCLA. My necklace is from the “Festival of Life” which is basically a festival honoring different African cultures and vendors are outside selling African sculptures, necklaces, etc.

What does style mean to you? To me, style means being different. Don’t be afraid to buy a couple of funky looking pants, or shirts. Always dress in a way that will positively make you stand out.

STORY TITLE HERE - it can be bigger or whatever. Do you! Baskerville or Georgia hereeeeeeeee 10 or 11





In 2012, we see a nearly naked Karlie Kloss walk down the runway at Victoria’s Secret yearly fashion show. Later that same year, the company releases a “Sexy Little Geisha” line, with the tagline “your ticket to an exotic adventure.” Urban Outfitters releases a t-shirt with a six-point star on the breast pocket, imitating those that were forced upon the Jews during the Holocaust. At Northwestern just two years ago, two PhD students posted photos of going blackface for Halloween. And of course, there is the latest debacle of Miley Cyrus getting on stage and twerking while using black women as background as she fondles a foam finger and singing a song that, as she told her producer, had a “black feel” to it — all in one VMA performance. All of these examples are cultural appropriation in today’s context. Defined as the adoption of certain elements of one culture in another, it is generally seen as simplifying a culture into symbols that are misrepresented. For instance, the traditional Native American headdresses worn by “hipsters” in their photo blogs are misrepresenting a culture because the garb is completely taken out of the context of its culture and misplaced within another. As blogger Julia Coran writes in a post that has gone viral since 2010, “Whether it be an abstract ‘tribal’ print, a ‘navajo’ pattern, or a Cowichan sweater, the process of cultural appropriation involves taking something from its original context and packaging it for consumption for the widest audience possible.” She says often times, the object of appropriation such as the iconic headdress is part of Native American traditions that

had been outlawed by the American government at one point. “To have white hipsters at music festivals wearing cheap reproductions of this object without any notion of the original cultural framework in which it was worn and used is a perfect example [of cultural appropriation],” she explains. Around Halloween, cultural appropriation is especially visible, when people dress as sexualized Native Americans or sexualized Arabian women — or worse. It’s so prevalent that the Residential College Board, in collaboration with the Department of Campus Inclusion and Community,


as the adoption of certain elements of one culture in another, it is generally seen as simplifying a culture into symbols that are


held a dinner dialogue about the topic. “[Cultural appropriation] is something that has needed more publicity recently,” said Erik Zorn, a junior and the President of RCB. “It’s important to remember that this doesn’t just happen around Halloween. Many students don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo appropriately or they wear clothing on day-to-day basis that can be culturally inappropriate.” Like many students, Zorn said that he hadn’t realized that cultural STITCH |14


appropriation through attire was even an issue before he came to college. With many bloggers writing about the issue and photographers like Sanaa Hamid capturing the heart of the issue in picture form, the knowledge and discourse of cultural appropriation is spreading. Hamid explains the issue in few of her own words. Rather, she takes photos of two people wearing a cultural object, a bindi for example, and pairs each photo with an explanation of why they are wearing the respective cultural object. “Ideally this project will become much larger,” she said. “I’d like to show a wider range of cultures and religious and show the in-betweens of cultural appropriation. My main goal was and still is to just encourage a discussion between people.” Fashion often incorporates different sources for inspiration, but where is the line drawn between inspiration and appropriation? According to C. Riley Snorton, a professor of communication studies, the problem lies with the commodification of the certain rituals of a group. “It’s hard to buy the ‘inspiration’ argument when a certain group’s cultural heritage is commoditized as a product to be bought or sold,” he said. “Cultural appropriation is not simply an issue of cultural ownership. It often means profiting from a specific group’s heritage or culture.” In the vein of cultural appropriation, there’s another inadvertent issue — reverse cultural appropriation, in which cultural minorities act 7| STITCH

in a manner that is “white.” An example would be the international presence of jeans, a product with an American origin. Yet, according to Coran, this should not be considered appropriation. The majority culture has the privilege of mimicking the style of a minority culture without being secondguessed, yet when people of a minority culture dress in their own garb within majority culture society, they are persecuted for being “backward.” Thus, cultural appropriation exemplifies not only white privilege but also a sort of modern form cultural imperialism. Companies give their consumers these “tastes” of other cultures, while misinterpreting it and playing on stereotypes to make a profit. Sometimes, such displays of appropriation are received in outrage and the product is taken down almost instantly, as with the

case with the Victoria’s Secret geisha lingerie. Occasionally, the company releases an apology statement, but those are far and few in between. So, as the new generation of consumers shop and encounter culturally insensitive advertisements, they are inevitably surrounded by stereotypes and misrepresentation of cultures. Some claim that we live in

a post-racial society, but our clothing tells us otherwise. “Over and over I hear defensive arguments about how fashion is frivolous, how ‘it’s just a t-shirt’ or headdress or about how there are bigger problems to address,” Coran said. ”But what I wish people took away from this whole discussion is how to treat the people around you with respect.” STITCH |16


By Steffanee Wang Malaika Firth is gracing pages of high fashion magazines as the first black model Prada has used for their advertising campaign in 20 years. She’s gorgeous and has all the traits of a high fashion model: thin body, prominent cheekbones, tall frame, wavy hair and light skin. It’s true that the fashion industry has been breaking trends and progressing in featuring models of color in ad campaigns and runway shows. The recent Rick Owens show featured a mostly black step team, and there has been a significant increase in Asian models walking for big designer brands. However, in light of such cases, it seems that models of color are being employed and recycled much like the clothes they wear — they’re trends and right now, they’re in season. The issue of race has long been discussed by the fashion industry. Black models Chanel Iman, Naomi Campbell and Bethann Hardison, a long time advocate for diversifying the runway, recently created Balance Diversity, a campaign that calls out designers who “whitewash” their runways. There have been small changes in response to this campaign; designers who had no models of color in their past shows included one 17| STITCH

or even six black models in their show this past February during New York Fashion Week. Overall, the February fashion week had 17.1 percent of models of color, with Asian models leading at 9.1 percent. More recently, September’s New York Fashion Week had 19.4 percent of models of color, with Asian models again leading at 8.1 percent. Although designers have increased their employment of models of color, there is still a very strict and prominent list of checkpoints these models must meet before gliding down the runway. Models of color generally have Anglo-European features — they tend to be light skinned, thin, have wavy hair that can be blow dried straight, and have very prominent noses and cheeks. In fact, it almost seems as if designers have found a loophole in this campaign to employ models of color.They can claim that they aren’t being discriminatory while they still have the same kind of model they’ve always had. Courtney Patterson, an African American Studies student at Northwestern University sees this pseudo-diverse trend as designers walking a “fine line in doing what’s always been done, and trying to be on the

cutting edge.” Designers will break out of their all-white, all-European bubble, and hire black models — or use a black step-team, as in the case of Rick Owens — but then what? “Are they in his ad campaigns?” Patterson said. “Are they his fit models? Are those the people he’s using for the marketing on his website? What’s the longevity of that?” It makes one think that there is really no true diversity in the fashion industry, only an illusion of diversity. And when there is an exceptional disturbance of the norm, it’s always an extreme of a certain culture. Take Vogue Italia’s 2007 “Black Issue” — the issue that featured famous black models such as Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, and only had content about “black-related subjects”. Then, there are the dark, exotic models such as Alek Wek who always seem to be a stark contrast from the white models that walk shows with her. “Not only is she black, she is exotic,” Patterson said. “She’s really, really dark, and you can separate her from the [other black models].” The middle ground is never shown. The common colored woman is nonexistent in high fashion. There are no medium-skinned black women, short and traditionally oriental looking Asian women, or curvier Latino women. Sonia Dara, the first South Indian

model to be featured in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, said that most of the models she worked with were African American or Brazilian. Dara, who has walked for the likes of Valentino, Balenciaga,Yves Saint Laurent and Oscar de la Renta, admitted to having had trouble booking shows because most designers had not been exposed to many Indian models before her. Moreover, she said designers are typically reluctant to hire more than one or two models of the same minority race, as if there was a quota on colored models for each runway. “There are a few big names, such as Lakshmi Menon,” Dara said. “Many designers would choose to pick her out of comfort over other Indian women, as if it was one or the other, not both.” However, as a model she has seen the fashion and model industry gradually change and evolve in featuring models of various backgrounds. Patterson agrees, but only partially, believing that “there might be little micro spots where people try to change things but not a big social movement of it all.” So, are the numbers increasing? On a small scale, yes. More importantly, is this trend here to stay or will it be forgotten, much like the clothes designers throw out at the end of each season? Only time will tell. STITCH |18


By Jessica Arnold



hether in gif form or actual video, by now everyone has seen Miley Cyrus prancing around the VMA stage in her nude bikini, grinding into Robin Thicke’s crotch and making lewd gestures with a manicured foam finger. However shocked you may have been by her dance moves, her most controversial moment was stripping into her nude bra top and booty shorts. Her outfit was less revealing than most bikinis, yet it sparked a media frenzy surrounding objectification of young women. Sinead O’Connor warned her against “prostituting” herself and her body, writing in an open letter, “your body is for you and your boyfriend.” Such prudence begs the age-old question: why is modesty valued for women? Is showing one’s body always objectifying, or can it be empowering? Suzy Menkes, internation19| STITCH


ally acclaimed journalist and fashion critic, had quite a few words to say in favor of modesty in her appraisal of Valentino’s spring 2013 ready-to-wear collection. Instead of focusing on the beautiful drapery and fresh colors, Menkes focused on the amount of skin each model was showing — which was not much. She called this collection the “return of purity” to fashion, which had been overtaken by a “decade of slut style.” Just reading that word, the “s” word, caused a sharp intake of breath and a serious dose of skepticism on my part. Fashion, an industry that promotes itself as empowering women, still uses and accepts a word that is wrought with an oppressive history? Oh my. Let’s look at the s-word in other, more socially-conscious contexts. “I wasn’t being a slut. They were taking advantage of me,” wrote the victim of the Steubenville rape case, in which two teenage boys raped the 16-yearold girl while she was unconscious. Despite the rapists’ convictions, victim-blaming was rampant

in news coverage, social media and other commentary — “Disgusting outcome on #Steubenville trial. Remember kids, if you’re drunk/slutty at a party, and get embarrassed later, just say you got raped!” tweeted another teenager. Social network sites were full of similar comments with people blaming the rape victim, calling her a whore, trash, skank and yes, a slut. Although victim-blaming surrounding the Steubenville trial centered on the victim’s alcohol intake, victim-blaming based on clothing is also extremely common. Eva Ball, Coordinator of the Sexual Violence Response Services and Advocacy at Northwestern University, provides confidential guidance and care to those affected by sexual violence. She spoke to her experiences as an advocate. “Victim-blaming based on clothing is huge,” she said. “Survivors come into my office and often times

blame themselves, in many cases specifically because they’ve been recently blamed by others, and one of those factors is what people were wearing.” It’s clear where a victim’s guilt originates. Countless trials have used the victim’s clothing as a way to prove consent. In 2006, a Canadian judge lessened the sentence of a convicted rapist and allowed him to walk free because the rape was under “inviting circumstances” due to the victim’s clothing: a tube top, high heels and makeup. According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), someone in the United States is sexually assaulted every two minutes and 97 percent of rapists will never spend a day in jail. A 2005 Amnesty UK survey showed that 27 percent of people in the UK believe that a woman was partially responsible for being raped if she was wearing revealing clothing. It could be easy to excuse STITCH |20

Menkes’s use of the word “slut” if it were simply a misnomer; however, the fashion industry is both a reflection and creation of culture, and unfortunately, this culture includes rape culture, however veiled that may be the fashion industry is both a reflection and creation of culture, and unfortunately, this culture includes rape culture, however veiled that may be. Ball said we fuel these beliefs in “explicit and implicit ways.” Nothing is more ingrained in our view Ball said we fuel these beliefs in “explicit and implicit ways.” Nothing is more ingrained in our view of women as the Madon-


na-Whore Complex, a term coined by Freud that describes two classes of women, one that is sweet and domestic, and the other that is provocative and dehumanized. Ball calls it the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” expectation, in which women are supposed to be sexy but not too available, a perfect balance that we can never achieve. Otherwise, women are labeled that proverbial s-word. In fact, Menkes herself referred to the Madonna-Whore complex. “The stereotype of the Italian woman has wavered between a Madonna and a whore,” she wrote. “The first look is about innocence, sweetness and feminin-

ity; the other a full-on, sexed-up vision.” But Menkes’s mistake is embracing the categories instead of shunning them; she praises the return to sweetness and femininity while degrading the other. Sadly, her article is only one out of many examples of slut-shaming and women’s stereotypes in fashion. Chicago Magazine’s editor-in-chief and former fashion editor of People magazine, Beth Fenner, spoke of another shameful word to describe the whore side of the Madonna-Whore binary: the word trashy. “’Trashy’ tends to connote too revealing first and foremost,” she said, and that it’s used liberally in fashion, from critiques of Rihanna’s revealing River Island Collection to descriptions of over-the-knee boots. And nothing is more dehumanizing than describing someone as disposable trash. Critics are not the only sector of fashion that contributes to rape culture. Fashion photography and advertising have been criticized for years for objectifying women. Jean Kilbourne’s Killing Us Softly series analyzes media images of women since the 70s, focusing on many issues including violence against women. In her fourth documentary, Kilbourne talks about the conundrum that fashion advertising creates . “Girls are constantly told by the popular culture that they should be sexy, but innocent, experienced, but virginal,” She said. Women in sexy fashion advertisements are often surrounded by men and almost always submissive to the men. The ads can be confusing to the

viewer — they suggest sexual violence, such as the 2007 Dolce & Gabbana and 2010 Calvin Klein ads. The presentation of women in revealing clothes while yielding to men both mystifies consent and objectifies the woman as an object of fetishization. Kilbourne explains this sexual objectification as making women seem “more fragile, more vulnerable, [and] less powerful.” In a world where rape is extremely common, glamorizing sexual violence and presenting women’s sexuality as submissive is truly dangerous. Although the fashion industry is not the only contributor to rape culture, it certainly could promote otherwise. The philosophy of the fashion industry — that clothing is an artistic expression of oneself — may seem contradictory to campaigns that want to separate the individual’s wants and behaviors from clothing. As Ball said, “the philosophy is only problematic in a culture that is problematic.” Instead of promoting an ideal, pure image for women that perpetuates the Madonna-Whore complex, we could create a new image that embraces diversity in presenting female sexuality. Fashion collections could combine “revealing” and “modest” clothing. Or designers could go all out with showing skin. Or no skin at all. Instead of focusing on modesty or lack thereof, the industry and its pundits could very well promote individual decisions and present all women as humans, regardless of the amount of skin they show. And please, for the love of god, let’s all stop using the “s” word. STITCH |22

Proces UNPRO


Photographed by Alaura Hernandez Directed by Carly Shapiro and Samantha Brody Assisted on set by Kate Camarata and Lauren Myers

Makeup by Sarah Spellings Hair by Samantha Brody

Makeup and Hair by: Sarah Spellings

Makeup by Anna Sundberg Hair by Beatrice Hagney

Makeup and Hair by: Beatrice Hagney

Makeup by: Peggy Gerard Hair by: Carly Shapiro

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nso h o J y e z z by Li

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uave, stylish, and showstopping, the “It Girl” has always been a staple of fashion history. Marie Antoinette’s immodest and indulgent mores created a pedestal for future culture and style. Centuries later, Marilyn Monroe typified the perfect blend between stylish and sexy, presenting herself as a fantasy of both sexes. But the title of “It Girl” is deliberately vague, so in today’s terms, how do we even begin

to define it? Cool yet confident enigmas, It Girls have a lot to say, but err on the side of shyness. They possess a unique look, but by the same token, all share definitive characteristics. They wear a size zero but post photos of themselves eating pasta in Italy and cake at fashion week after-parties. They often have no real day job or a steady income, yet they miraculously possess the means to jet set around the world. They document every important and unimportant detail of their lives for their millions of cult followers, yet maintain an untouchable aura of mystery. They have “It” all together. And as their loyal onlookers, we lay the footing for their fame. STITCH |36

Freshman Bella Costa recently shared with me her personal experience with an It Girl she once used to obsess over. “Effy from the show Skins is effortlessly stylish and effortlessly cool,” Costa said. She proceeded to show me photos of herself during the height of her obsession, in which she stuns great resemblance to her style star. “I dressed like her all the time, muscle tees and all. I cut all my hair off and parted it to the side because of her,” she said. Costa’s demonstrates how an It Girl can manifest in our lives. We stalk the social media of our favorite It Girls for style inspiration, life envy or for a periodic pause from the reality of our far-less-lux obligations. We muse over their glamorous lives, wondering how they got to where they are and why we aren’t strutting in their stilettos. To what quantifiable effect has this “digital amphitheater” influenced our self-image? A survey published in Heart of Leadership reported that more than 90 percent of girls ages 15 to 17 wish to alter one defining characteristic of their appearance, with the most prevalent being body weight. Research through the Girl Scout Research Institute offers harrowing statistics about just how low our self-perception dares to go. Twentyfive percent of women our age have an eating disorder, and only one in 50 girls would define herself as beautiful. According to Heather Schroering, a style and culture writer for the Chicago Tribune, consumers of fashion culture understand that their icons are often photoshopped, yet they fasten their aspirations on the edited product nonetheless. “We’ve become sensory overloaded and desensitized,” Schroering said.

“We acknowledge how much shopwork goes into these things, but we still subscribe to it.” For reasons often beyond our control, we allow ourselves to be influenced by stereotypes, even though many of us would rashly deny their influence or even degrade them in group conversations. The message of an “It Girl” is a paradox. It tells us to be alike in our individuality. To be cool, we have to comply with a set of requisites — namely, our image, interests, and affluence that will support our platform for individuality. Coolness has been collectivized. But isn’t individuality an individual endeavor? It seems that in the age of one-click access to a myriad of influence, the search for “It” needs to be refreshed. The good news is that we are starting to pencil in some of the fine print. Earlier this year, “V” Magazine conducted an interview with Girls protégé Lena Dunham. In it, she uses her characteristic comedy and candor to explore how she resists the pressures of her profession. “I feel so lucky to be freed from that prison,” Dunham said in the article. “I ate cake for breakfast on the day of the Emmys, I ate cake for dinner, my workout didn’t require Spanx, and I still feel like I looked better than people expected me to. It was amazing.” Now that she’s in college, Costa says she realizes that her obsession might have been a little misguided. “While I thought [emulating Effy] would make me look better, it just didn’t work for me,” Costa said. “She was maybe 95 pounds, just skin and bones. Different things work on different people.” Her ability to rationalize this posits a new hope that the impact of It Girls

“Effy from the show Skins is effortlessly stylish and effortlessly cool,” said freshman Bella Costa. Effy, played by Kaya Scodelario, is one of many “it girls” to whom fans look for style inspiration.



“If we can shift the traditional vision of an It Girl inward, making it more dependent on personality traits than physical traits, the term can redeem its positive reptuation.”


could just be a phase of infatuation. Schroering seconds that we could be starting to rise above the influence. “A shift is starting [in the media] where you see women who are curvier or more fit, like Kim Kardashian or Beyoncé,” Schroering said. “In the advertisement industry, it’s starting to click — they’re putting a little more effort into changing who they feature in their ads.” If we can shift the traditional vision of an It Girl inward, making it more dependent on personality traits than physical traits, the term can redeem its positive reputation. But, Schroering contends, it is also up to us. “We’re exposed to so many things a day, and either we get really sick of that and we ignore it, or we become the people who obsess over it,” she said. In essence, our interpretation of our It Girls is at our discretion. One Friday this past April, I was flipping through the pages of my high school newspaper to read my monthly column in print after it was published. This month’s feature was

supposed to be a guide on choosing the right college. Instead, I found the super-secret journal entry I wrote for my creative writing class, in which I reveal every attribute I fantastically wished I possessed — an astoundingly killer wardrobe, a figure that could rock every item in it, and perfectly tousled hair that was strewn spritely over a “perfectly sculpted ass.” “I want to be an It Girl,” it blared. Needless to say, I was mortified. How could a mix-up like this happen? But more alarmingly, how were people going to react to a salacious story about the insecurities of a girl? Days passed and mysteries were solved; as fate would have it, the entry had been accidentally attached to an email along with my actual article. For that brief moment, I was “It,” the latest gossip about the girl who, yes, blabbed about her ass shape in a Catholic school newspaper. Yet what transpired from my temporary trauma was far less detrimental than I had anticipated. It turns out, people found it refreshing that such a taboo topic as self-deprecation was chronicled so candidly. Perhaps that’s the remedy for the effacing It Girl infatuation. Maybe it’s time that their wrongs are discussed as frankly as their rights. As Schroering explained, we know that perception very rarely meets reality. The problem is that there is an innate void between our ability to recognize this and our willingness to internalize it. If we can begin to bridge this gap, we can consequently bridge the surprisingly narrow gap between our It Girls and ourselves.

HOLIDAY SEASON ow to survive this




Joyous and excruciating are both perfectly acceptable ways to describe the holiday season. Regardless of your adjective of choice, here are some essentials to get you through the months-long holiday season.




Urban Outfitters, Sparkle & Fade Acid-Wash Jogger Pant, $59

Go ahead and stuff yourself with stuffing because your made-for-Thanksgiving drawstring pants know no limits. Enjoy the jealous glares of family members as they unbutton their pants and loosen their belts after each course of the meal.

There’s nothing better than snuggling by the fireplace on a cold, snowy night, wearing adorable comfy socks. If you’re feeling super festive, let them poke out of your ankle booties, after couch potato time is over.

Tibi Stretch Velvet Dress, $375

This festive frock will keep you stylish until well after Santa’s visit. Make it family-gathering appropriate by adding a cardigan and flats, and then rock it on New Year’s Eve with some jaw-dropping stilettos. J.Crew Snowflake Fair Isle Trouser Socks, $16.50


HILARY DUFF XMAS ALBUM “Santa Claus Lane” is arguably the best holiday album ever. Her collaboration with Lil’ Romeo on the quasi-rap song, “Tell Me a Story,” is old school Disney channel genius.

SNOW- IN A CAN For those going home to warmer climates but long for a white Christmas, Instant Snow is the perfect solution. In the poetic words of Hilary Duff from the aforementioned album, “Dear Santa, I live in Hollywood, but it’s not like in the movies where Christmas is always snowy white. On my list is just one wish, that it would snow tonight.” Well, wish granted, Lizzie McGuire.

SUFJAN STEVENS’ “SONGS FOR CHRISTMAS” If Hilary Duff isn’t enough,there’s always the hipster’s choice Christmas album. The box set contains five discs of Sufjan’s quirky take on holiday classics, enough to last, well, all year. But please take your Christmas lights down at some point.



UR Knit Tech Gloves, $38

Lauren Ralph Lauren Tech Earmuffs, $80

Markus Lupfer Santa Claus Sequin Sweater, $400

Going grandma-chic for the holidays is so cliché. Why not swap the traditional ugly Christmas sweater for one that is chic minus the grandma? You may not win the contest for ugliest sweater, but you’ll get style points.


Nothing’s worse than constantly removing your gloves to use your smart phone. Thankfully, some genius figured out that technology and cute cold weather accessories could go hand in hand. Literally! Use your tech gloves to navigate your playlist to some Sufjan Stevens holiday tunes to blast through your trendy-yet-functional headphone earmuffs.

Not going home for Thanksgiving? Not to worry! Grab a couple of friends, a Lean Cuisine microwavable “Roasted Turkey Breast” meal — complete with gravy, stuffing, whipped potatoes, green beans and cranberries — a bottle of wine and a feel-good movie like “The Exorcist.” This is all a college student needs for an ideal Thanksgiving, sans family. STITCH |43

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alice (nikita kulkarni)

shirt: j.crew from crossroads ($15) skirt: dizzy lizzy socks: gilly hicks shoes: bdg


the mad hatter (alex zhuang) hat: penguin from crossroads ($15) pants: penguin from crossroads ($16.50) sweater: apc from crossroads ($32.50) shirt: bagutta from crossroads ($7.50)

ariel (veronica johnson)

shirt: staring at stars from crossroads ($12.50) colored chain earrings: crossroads ($15) bracelet - vintage skirt: forever 21

mulan (emily yao) shirt: american eagle outfitter pants: zara shoes: fashion women necklace: vintage

peter pan (clayton shuttleworth) shirt: diesel from crossroads ($13.50) shoes: timberland from crossroads ($20) jeans: gap hat: north face leather bracelets: forever 21 and j.crew

captain hook (andre mohring) jacket: zara man pants: h&m shirt: claiborn shoes: rockport

snow white (kayla griffith) shirt: old navy skort: uniqlo shoes: gap belt: vintage

prince charming (chris howard) blazer: michael kors shirt: ralph lauren jeans: ralph lauren shoes: h&m belt: calvin klein

cruella deville (rachel shelton) jacket: mac and jac dress: vintage shoes: jimmy choo gloves: jb guanti jewelry: model’s own

princess tiana (aria charles) dress: calvin klein






Rachel McAdams. Time travel. A really great dress. Seems like a predictable equation, right? About Time, written and directed by Richard Curtis (think Love Actually, Notting Hill, and Four Weddings and a Funeral), takes what you expect to happen and creates something much more meaningful in a quiet, understated film that sheds light on what we should all be doing with our lives. T h e story goes like this: an awkward young man, Tim, (Domhnall Gleeson) learns he can time travel and recreate moments in his life in order to make it exactly as it should be — whether it was taking the risk of a New Year’s kiss, reversing a beloved’s car accident or going for round three in the bedroom. The film relies on the time-travel element, but uses it in a subtle, understated manner that allows you to reflect on your own “do-over” moments. Not too brightly lit and not over-styled, the film is shot


in a manner that truly mimics life — unsteady, hair out of place, a hole in the sweater. But the focus is where it needs to be — faces and voices. A particularly special scene is total darkness for almost four minutes while you hear Tim and Mary (Rachel McAdams) meet for the first time. The characterization is in the same realistic manner — awkward first encounters (Tim’s “Christ!” after their first kiss is something that every girl has heard at least once), family gatherings that ring familiar with your own experiences (there is a bit of everyone’s dad in Bill Nighy’s exquisite portrayal of Tim’s father) and most importantly, Tim’s confidence that every moment is going to be “the big one,” that every moment means something and could could change everything — a sentiment dreamy gen-y-ers will recognize. About Time reads like a well-produced indie film — sparkly enough for fans of The

Notebook, but smart and honest enough for fans of Juno and P.S. I Love You. And for STITCH readers in particular, there are many references to Kate Moss, a surprisingly red wedding dress and McAdams’ dumpy-chic style. About Time is a beautiful film — dare I say, a must see for anyone who feels life (or college or just the week) is flying by them without notice. As the film progresses, one becomes more and more frustrated with Tim as he corrects and “fixes” moments in his life, because the original version of a moment, though imperfect, is much more honest (the sex scene in particular comes to mind—there is something endearing about the way he fumbles with a bra and asks for help on the first attempt, rather than his fixed version, in which he takes control with utter confidence). A film not focused on love, but rather how we use our moments to connect with the important people and the important sentiments, About Time deftly reminds us that we should be living each moment, as Tim might say, as if it were “the second time around” — taking the time to smile at the good, happy small things that make up a day

and allowing the glory of an “extraordinarily ordinary life” fill you to the brim with gratitude. There will be “lots and lots of types of days,” McAdams’ Mary smartly says. And in those days, it is important to remind ourselves that life is what we make it, the first time around.









Mick Jenkins has sneaked up on rap. Put simply,“you’ve never met another n— quite like me.” And it’s true. Mick Jenkins is one of the very few artists who stray from the hip-hop content stereotype. In an age where hip-hop on the airwaves hyper-sexualize women and glamorize wealth, drugs, and alcohol, Jenkins is here to share something refreshing. He takes a different perspective — he actually voices the issues. His tape, Trees & Truths, embodies that. Jenkins manages to get us to reflect on issues like superficiality, the perception of beauty, the lower class struggle, corruption, violence, self-love and education and doesn’t completely put us off by being sanctimonious or self-righteous. In fact, he is far from it. Jenkins is eloquent, down to earth, focused — and only 22. We’re sitting in Wicker Park’s Filter, a buzzing café off Milwaukee Ave when I ask him how much Chicago has influenced his music. “On every level,” he says. “My neighborhood and where I grew up made who I am as a person, and because who I am as a person and the things that I go through are what I talk about, it’s 100 percent influential in my music, both the good and the bad-it’s a part of me, it’s a part of who


I am, so it’s a huge part of my music.” Jenkins hails from the south side and frequently reps his neighborhood in his songs. He speaks to the good and the bad, like the kids “throwin’ gang signs” in “Maintain,” a collaborative number featuring a sick beat. The social consciousness that sets Jenkins apart is central to the music he wants to create. “There are just a lot of things going on in the world, in the media, in society, in our city and closely knit neighborhood that gives the wrong ideas, values and morals of how to live life,” he says. But while these elements are important to what he wants to say, he’s not going to pound you over the head with his values. “Not every song is pushing some social consciousness, but at the very least I want to push positive values and vibes. I’m not ‘f—king your girl,’ you know?” He laughs. Jenkins is referring to the often exhausting lyrical “landscape” found in popular rap music today. The tiring trope is everywhere — in Kanye’s “Mercy,” Lil’ Wayne’s “Ima Take your Girl” and pretty much any song by J. Cole. Jenkins’ response to this culture of vulgarity is his branding: “ginger ale,” a recurring line throughout Trees & Truth, it’s his metaphor for healing. “My grandma used to give us saltines

that truth/ that I spit like a relapse. Deaux’s contribution is particularly haunting. Who the hell you think you is the black Hercules? /You supposed to save the world, ain’t that the perfect dream? ... He gave you super powers ain’t that how it f—ing happens? / I lose a love you lose a life now ain’t that f—ing tragic? /and I’m just supposed to praise the Lord and live in all the madness? It’s hard to believe this song doesn’t end the tape. It’s a gem, but really, most of the songs are. So what’s next for Mick Jenkins? He’s already collaborated with the likes of Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa on “Crossroads,” another power track on his tape. It has 84,000 plays on SoundCloud and counting. His video for “The Roots” dropped just a few days ago to good reception as well. His new tape The Waters is due soon, and he was nice enough to share his vision for his new project with me. As for change, he’s all for it. It’s all about evolving. “For The Waters, I want to take more time,” he dishes. “There’s tension to produce a better product both sonically and lyrically. I want to raise the bar. I want to be involved in the sampling process, in chopping the sample, so it can really by ‘my’ extensive body of work.” I point out that most of the songs on T&T were really short, and he admits that’s something else he wants to work on — “I want to maybe do four- or fiveminute songs with three verses. I want to give people girth with the tape.” As for the name and the theme, The Waters will be a direct sequel. “[For this next tape] I’m still trying to explain those same points and stories from Trees & Truths. It’s going to have the stories of Jonah and Noah’s Ark,” Jenkins says. If The Waters is anything like Trees &Truths, I believe it’ll be received with even greater acclaim.


and ginger ale when we had just a small cold, and I took that to the next level,” he says. It’s these small details that really make Mick Jenkins an artist to watch. His lyrical finesse, social consciousness and creative energy come together to produce arguably one of the greatest mixtapes of 2013.Trees & Truths includes 17 tracks loosely based on Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden. It dawns with a snippet from a child’s biblical story about the fall of Man. The damning conversation between the Serpent and Eve is our introduction into Jenkins’ sonic narrative. The famous story comes up again later as an interlude. I ask him why. “I was raised in a Christian home,” he explains. “The fundamentals of those beliefs of God dying for our sins, of going to heaven, those things often come out in my music.” The biblical theme works for the mixtape, as it takes the listener on a journey. The beauty of it is the honesty. It’s clever, but also terrifying. Jenkins’ asks us to think in a new way. He asks us to look at the consequences of our actions. As people, what are we producing? Are we giving something good back to the world that we inhabit? It’s Jenkin’s inquisitive vibe that really hits home. The number “Noah and the Reign,” featuring fellow Chicago artist Jean Deaux, is just one of many powerful tracks on T&T. The guitar licks embedded behind the vocal reminds me of the Isley Brothers’ iconic song, “Footsteps in the dark.” The track is smooth, the R&B influence is clear, and the nostalgia it evokes is monumental. It borrows the story of Noah’s Ark to tell so much more. The longest song on the tape, it is “drowning in the truth.” They told her do those drugs; they said she’ll feel no pain/check the correlation/ ideas realized by corporations/and communities where people are too bored for patience/I know you hear




... And Then There’s the Issue of Fashion By Carrie Shin



We are encouraged to follow a slew of “new” trends churned out each season that are mostly variations of old trends with a slight but perceptible modification in hemline or hue, necessitating the purchase of these 2.0 versions of articles we already own. We are forced to conform in order to be dubbed fashionable, but to truly fit into the upper echelons of the fashion society, we must stand out. Defy the rules of fashion and you are a fashion terrorist, but faithfully abide by them and you’re boring. In essence, we are sent on a wild goose chase for the elusive fashionista status. Taking all this into consideration, it is hard to see fashion as more than just a vehicle for capitalism, peddling off new extraneous products to consumers because they can. So why do we do it? Why do we invest, collect and spend each season without fail and sometimes without question? Do those Gucci heels re-


ally define me? Will that Valentino skirt really make me more me? No. I do not need an article of clothing to show who I am — my character is revealed by my actions and my existence in itself. It needs no further elaboration. However, I repeatedly find myself hoping and believing that this insert-article-of-clothing will be the defining piece of my wardrobe. I believe that part of the reason for this obsession with fashion is culturally fostered. Thanks to social media, we are pressured to incessantly “prove” ourselves. Profile pictures are carefully selected, Instagram photos meticulously cropped and filtered, perfect selfies “mistakenly” muploaded. A big chunk of our identity perceived by others rests on the social-media-selves we present. Judging a book by its cover has been rendered inevitable and we are forced to shove as much onto our covers as possible. Superficiality has become the status quo.

As a side effect, our self-esteem is as vulnerable as ever, with all of my 500 Facebook friends having a say in whether they “like” my photo or not. With so many people weighing in on one’s identity, fewer people know who they are. Conversely, we are forced to figure out or at least pretend to have figured out who we are at a younger age so that we know exactly what to write on our online profiles. Through fashion we bolster the image we create of ourselves — those leather pants will make me look like a bad bitch and those sunglasses will make me look so blasé. Fashion can, at times, be less an expression of self than an expression of one’s desires. However, that is not to say that fashion is a manipulative Regina George egging us to become self-loathing hoarders. We may be material girls and boys living in a material world and we inevitably need material things, but we are too intelligent to be suckered into meaningless preening. The fact is our possessions do not define us, but they can reflect us and tell our story. The beauty of fashion is that much like us, it is constantly evolving. The relevance of a trend is fleeting, but your piece from that season’s collection and its significance will

stay with you. It is a freezeframe of your life that you can keep forever — a tangible keepsake of a memory that would otherwise slip away. There are some items in my closet that I’ve outgrown physically and/ or sartorially that I just could not get myself to throw away. The Kermit-green tracksuit from the days Vanessa Hudgens and Miley Cyrus were my idols, the camel blazer with navy piping and crest that I bought for my first day of high school harboring secret ambitions to become the school’s Blair Waldorf (author’s note: I didn’t succeed), the formal dress a tricky shade of teal from my sophomore year which holds within its fibers not only my sweat from the dance floor but also the bittersweet tale of my unsuccessful formal date. Your closet becomes a personal archive of anecdotes and adventures that you can revisit. In the end, it doesn’t matter what Joan Rivers thinks of your outfit or that you are stomping your “last season’s Prada shoes.” It is not the articles of clothing themselves but the stories they tell that matter. It reminds us of the people we were — the dreams we had, the people we loved, the issues we cared about — and that’s why we indulge in fashion: to remember.



STITCH November 2013  

STITCH is a fashion and photography publication housed in Northwestern University. Since its creation in 2006, the student-run magazine dist...

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